Posted on

How to Find Out Who Owns a Property

There can be a number of reasons why you may want to find out who owns a property: you fell in love with it while you were passing by and want to buy it, or perhaps you’re just eager to know who owns a certain house in your neighborhood.

Whatever the case may be, finding this information can be easier than you think. Let’s discuss how.

Reverse Address Lookup

There are some websites that enable you to enter the address of a house and find its owners and a list of the people who live there. These websites include Nuwber, Spokeo, and TruthFinder, just to name a few.

A reverse address lookup even goes as far as providing information on the neighborhood, including the number of houses, registered sex offenders in the area, and much more.

It gives invaluable details, especially if you’re searching for an area where you want to live. It can help you decide whether it’s a safe one for you and your children or if it’s better to find something else. 

Google Maps

This can be particularly helpful when you’re trying to find the address of a lot that is vacant. In order for you to inquire about it, you would first need its full address.  Granted, Google Maps may not always be able to provide that, but its satellite and street-view applications will most definitely be able to identify the street and county. You would then need to use an online real estate service or a parcel map to provide the missing information for you.

Online Real Estate Service

An online real estate service will most definitely be able to provide the information that you’re not able to find via other methods. Not only will you find the name of the current owner but also their contact information—phone numbers, email addresses, and more.

You will also be provided with other useful details about the land registry. One downside, though, is that this route can be expensive and complicated, and you should be prepared to invest a lot of money and time. It may not be worth your while unless you’re going to be investing in real estate.

List Brokers

List brokers are people who compile lists of people based on client requests and sell them. These lists provide information such as people’s names, mailing addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses, and much more and are typically used in telemarketing, direct mail, or email advertising campaigns.

You simply need to tell the broker what you’re looking for, and they’ll be able to provide you with a list specific to your needs. Bear in mind, though, that this list may be incomplete and expensive.  

Local Tax Assessor’s Office

Property tax is something that must be paid by the majority of private property owners. Religious buildings, churches, schools, libraries, and a number of others are excluded from this tax, though. These taxes are paid to the respective county collector offices after a county assessor determines the property’s fair and true value, records of which are kept.

With such a database, it’s no wonder they’re able to provide ownership information for every property registered in their county. Some of the information may be outdated, though, based on the property’s registration date, and you may be required to pay for the physical documents.

Registry of Deeds

The registry of deeds holds records of land titles, real estate deeds, and other legal documents—birth certificates, military discharge records, death certificates, and other public records.

Some registries have websites where you can search for the information, while others would require that you search manually through the local registry of deeds. Unfortunately, such a registry is not available everywhere, so you would need to contact your county to find out if it’s available.

Real Estate Broker or Attorney

If none of the other methods turn up anything, a real estate agent may have the means necessary to dig deeper. They usually have access to lists that the ordinary person would have to pay for. You can ask for a favor from a friend or family member who is a real estate agent if you have one.

A real estate attorney can work too, because they may have contacts within the county and may have ideas on where else you can look. They can also give you advice on how to effectively navigate an online service.

Title Company

If you’ve exhausted every other option, a title company may be able to help because they are experts when it comes to retrieving property information. They normally become involved in property transactions when the property in question is under contract to be sold. However, you may be in luck and find one that provides pre-contract searching services at a cost. They search its title and discover whether or not any issues exist with the current owner’s title. 

The Bottom Line

There are several ways to find out who owns the property you’re interested in—by searching government agencies or title companies or speaking with a real estate agent or attorney. Google Maps, reverse address lookup services, online real estate services, and list brokers can also prove very helpful in this regard.

With all that said, you need to be mindful and not let your eagerness cause you to violate anyone’s privacy in your search efforts.